US Forest Service FY14 Agency Priority — Fire Communities…
Posted By: Tim Love
I just wanted to post a relevant section of the USFS FY14 Agency Priorities that was just released. It’s related to supporting firewise communities, so it makes sense to share this in re to our CCA’s discussion.
• Wildland Fire Management. Wildland fire is a natural and necessary component of restoring and maintaining most of the ecosystems managed by the Forest Service. However, fire seasons are becoming longer and fires are becoming more severe. In the West, climate change and other factors have contributed to hotter, drier, and longer fire seasons, on average 60 to 70 days longer than in the prior decade. The six worst fire seasons since 1960 have occurred since 2000. Sixty-five million acres of Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) are adjacent to or near national forests and grasslands. Managing wildland fire in this context in an era of declining budgets is a significant challenge for our agency. The only way to meet this challenge is to work with our partners across all jurisdictions.
1. Fuels treatment and fire-adapted communities: We will prioritize fuels treatments that protect communities that are also investing in their own protection. I expect you to preferentially fund projects where local communities have shown commitment to community protection through the planning and implementation of a Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP) or other significant effort, such as actual fuel reduction on private property, building code changes, replacement of combustible material on buildings improved access, etc. These treatments should be placed where risk is high and where we can significantly reduce that risk. We should also continue to focus on providing funding for the fire-adapted communities initiative through our Cooperative Fire programs.